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Hiring staff: Where to start?

Hiring staff: Where to start?

The Spring 2022 calving season around the corner so now is a good time to plan who will help to run your business. All too often fatigue and burn out occur in Spring time on many farms. Dairy Specialist Martina Gormley gives some information and advice on hiring staff.

The consequences from a health and safety point of view of fatigue and burn out are massive. Farm profitability is also reduced due to important tasks not being completed when they need to be. With this in mind people who help run your business are an asset and careful planning must occur to ensure you hire the best person.

What help do you need?

This is a basic question, but at times the wrong person can be hired because this was not clear from the onset. Role clarity is hugely important for both parties. Look at all the tasks on the farm, from milking, to machinery, calf care, cow care, grassland, repairs and maintenance, office work etc.

What can you afford?

If you want someone to come in and do milkings, then how many can you afford to pay. If the cost is €40 per milking and you have €5,000 of a budget this will get you 125 milking. That’s over 2 milkings per week for the year. Getting someone to do some milking can be a great task to contract out as it frees up the whole day for you to get other important work done or to spend time away from the farm.

Where to find help?

There are a few different places to find staff. The following are the most cited.

  • Word of mouth
  • Local paper
  • Local college/secondary school
  • Gumtree
  • Recruitment websites
  • Social media

Job description

Before you use any of the resources above a well thought out and meaningful job description should be developed on a piece of paper. Going through this process really helps you decide what you and your business have to offer and also what exactly that you are looking for.

A good job description has the following:

  • A title
  • opportunity
  • flexibility
  • role clarity
  • training

It is extremely important not to offer something that you can’t deliver on.  This will lead to conflict with the employee straight away. The job description must be truthful. See example below.


Dairy farm assistant wanted


Full time person wanted due to farm expansion from 120 cows to 180 cows. Owner plus relief milker running the farm currently. The role will include milking, feeding animals, calf care and grassland management. Experience is not essential as training can be provided. Good attitude, willingness to learn and reliability are essential. Facilities for milking and animal housing have been upgraded in recent years. If you like working outdoors with flexible hours and negotiable pay then please send your CV to xxxxxxx


Get more information here

View the Teagasc Farm Labour Manual here